Minerva House - 22/02/2012

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Minerva House is a privately owned centre that provides education and care for children aged from birth to six years. The centre was opened in November 2010. This is the first ERO review.

The centre is located in an architecturally designed building with bright and stimulating purpose-built classrooms and a natural outdoor environment. It has separate rooms for all ages. Children can eat, sleep and play in different rooms. The programme is based on the philosophies of Montessori, Rudolf Steiner and the International Baccalaureate (IB) early years and Te Whāriki the New Zealand early childhood curriculum.

The centre is well managed and effectively resourced. There have been significant staff changes since the centre opened, because of the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The new team of teachers has made good progress developing consistent teaching practices and has established good links with parents and the community.

Children are learning and developing in a positive and friendly environment. Parents are warmly welcomed into the centre. Teachers respond positively to children’s interest and needs.

Other positive features of the centre include:

  • a wide range of learning experiences
  • the way teachers listen to children and recognise and celebrate children’s individuality
  • extensive opportunities for children to develop skills and an interest in literacy and numeracy.

The service provider and teachers have developed an effective strategic plan and self-review process. However, as a new centre many aspects of the programme are still in the early stages of development. The service provider and teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that to further improve outcomes for children, reviews should now focus on:

  • developing consistent practices to assess individual children’s learning
  • challenging and engaging older boys
  • extending the integration and use of te reo and tikanga Māori in the daily programme and documentation.

The centre’s strategic plan needs to become a working document for the teaching team. This includes linking it to individual teacher goals, programme development and self review.

There is a good range of policies and procedures that guide the managers and teachers in using safe practices with children and in operating the centre.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

2. Review Priorities

The Focus of the Review

Before the review, the management of Minerva House was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the centre to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the management and staff. This discussion focused on existing information held by the centre (including self-review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to positive outcomes for children at Minerva House.

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children
  • the learning environment
  • the interactions between children and adults.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education

Background

The centre’s philosophy expresses fundamental beliefs, values and attitudes, based on the philosophies of Montessori, Rudolf Steiner and the IB early years andTe Whāriki, the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum. These philosophies focus on developing the whole child through socialisation, nurturing creativity, respect, healthy living, love of nature, cognitive growth and physical activity.

Since November 2010, three teachers including the centre’s head teacher have left the centre. This was due to the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes. The teaching team has been stable since June 2011. New head teachers have been appointed in each room. The programme and the physical environment being established foster children’s learning.

Areas of strength

The service provider and staff have established a positive, inclusive and friendly place for children and their families. Teachers know the children well. These positive relationships are well used to support the programme and children’s learning. Teachers are developing effective working relationships with each other.

Teachers show interest in what parents have to say about their children. The service provider and teachers have established good communication and consultation processes with parents. This includes informative newsletters and interviews about children’s development at the centre.

In the nursery infants’ learning and development is well supported by teachers’ interactions. Teachers regularly involve themselves in infants’ play and are flexible and responsive to their needs. In the other rooms teachers provide children with appropriate guidance to develop skills for playing successfully with others. Children in these rooms confidently share their learning with others.

Teachers are developing a programme to meet the emerging needs and interests of children. They are reflective and have pursued a range of different ways to plan children’s learning and incorporate the centre’s emerging philosophy.

Children’s individuality is recognised, celebrated and nurtured. They experience good opportunities to develop their awareness of other cultures and some aspects of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. Other features of the programme include:

  • bright, stimulating, well-resourced learning areas which include spaces for drama, music and exploration
  • a wide range of learning experiences
  • extensive opportunities for children to develop skills and an interest in literacy and numeracy.

Parents are well informed about their children’s experiences at the centre. Teachers provide attractive profile books that reflect children’s involvement in the programme. Children have regular opportunities to revisit their learning in the programme.

The service provider and teachers have developed a well-planned programme of self-review. They have completed a range of planned and spontaneous reviews linked to developing the quality of the learning environments, teaching practices, the programme and the philosophy of the centre. The service provider and teachers have responded to parent surveys and have made changes to their practices to improve outcomes for children.

Areas for development and review

As a new centre, many aspects of the programme are still in the early stages of development. The service provider and teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that to further improve outcomes for children, reviews should now focus on:

  • developing consistent planning and assessment practices to include a focus on recognising and recording individual children’s learning
  • challenging and engaging older children, particularly boys, including reviewing routines and teaching practices
  • extending the integration and use of te reo and tikanga Māori in the daily programme and documentation.

The centre’s strategic plan needs to become a meaningful document for the whole teaching team. This includes links to individual teacher goals, programme development and self-review.

3. National Evaluation Topic

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long term and systemic educational improvement.

Inclusion of Children with Moderate to Severe Special Needs

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • transitions ensure the continuing well-being, learning, and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • children with moderate to severe special needs supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the service is inclusive of children with moderate to severe special needs.

Background

Although there were no children with moderate to severe special needs currently enrolled in this service at the time of this review, the service is well placed to enrol children with moderate to severe special needs.

The service provider and leaders are fully aware of the outside support services they can approach to support their work with the child and family, and the processes involved in developing an individual early intervention plan for the child’s specific needs.

The centre is well resourced and provides extra staff including a teacher aide.

Staff have positive relationships with parents who are comfortable about sharing information about their children. Teachers respond positively to this information.

The centre has facilities to meet most individual children’s physical needs. The building includes a disabled parking space, a toilet with disabled access, and the front door provides wheelchair access. A possible challenge identified by the centre is access to the rooms upstairs.

4. Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff of Minerva House completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • administration
  • health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial and property management.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s documentation, including policies, procedures and records of recent use of procedures. ERO also checked elements of the following areas that have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse)
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures)
  • staff qualifications and organisation
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

5. Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years. 

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

About the Centre

Type

Early Childhood Education and Care Centre

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 14 aged under two

Roll number

99

Gender composition

Girls 51

Boys 48

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 75;

Māori 4

Asian 8;

European 12 ;

Review team on site

December 2011

Date of this report

22 February 2012

Previous three ERO reports

New Centre

To the Parents and Community of Minerva House

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on Minerva House.

Minerva House is a privately owned centre that provides education and care for children aged from birth to six years. The centre was opened in November 2010. This is the first ERO review.

The centre is located in an architecturally designed building with bright and stimulating purpose-built classrooms and a natural outdoor environment. It has separate rooms for all ages. Children can eat, sleep and play in different rooms. The programme is based on the philosophies of Montessori, Rudolf Steiner and the International Baccalaureate (IB) early years and Te Whāriki the New Zealand early childhood curriculum.

The centre is well managed and effectively resourced. There have been significant staff changes since the centre opened, because of the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The new team of teachers has made good progress developing consistent teaching practices and has established good links with parents and the community.

Children are learning and developing in a positive and friendly environment. Parents are warmly welcomed into the centre. Teachers respond positively to children’s interest and needs.

Other positive features of the centre include:

  • a wide range of learning experiences
  • the way teachers listen to children and recognise and celebrate children’s individuality
  • extensive opportunities for children to develop skills and an interest in literacy and numeracy.

The service provider and teachers have developed an effective strategic plan and self-review process. However, as a new centre many aspects of the programme are still in the early stages of development. The service provider and teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that to further improve outcomes for children, reviews should now focus on:

  • developing consistent practices to assess individual children’s learning
  • challenging and engaging older boys
  • extending the integration and use of te reo and tikanga Māori in the daily programme and documentation.

The centre’s strategic plan needs to become a working document for the teaching team. This includes linking it to individual teacher goals, programme development and self review.

There is a good range of policies and procedures that guide the managers and teachers in using safe practices with children and in operating the centre.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO is likely to review the service again in three years.

When ERO has reviewed an early childhood centre we encourage management to inform their community of any follow up action they plan to take. You should talk to the management or contact person if you have any questions about this evaluation, the full ERO report or their future intentions.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the centre or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz 

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region